Go back a bit to the 3rd Battle of Newbury. We at NW have the utmost respect for all those involved in that campaign, which includes of course Simon Festing, and certainly have no issue with the tactics used . However blocking workers in, home demos to Costain employees and the occassional mishap with bulldozers being torched were not exactly legal. Simon Festing as part of this campaign, as a spokeperson for Friends of the Earth did not as far as we can see have a problem with any of these tactics either. Please correct us if we are wrong but it is not slightly non consistant of him to criticise animal rights activists regarding home demos, blockades, office occupations and property damage? We are convinced it would do no harm for any activist who comes into combat with Simon in a debate to gently remind him of his past. In fact any journalist worth their salt should be asking him about this too.
The Countryside Alliance are far worse because many pro hunt activists go much further than the ALF or the ARM, they think nothing of seriously damaging people. Still this doesn't stop Simon Hart pontificating on SHAC and hunt sab' violence as though 3 people killed, animals nailed to front doors, arson attacks (actually on habited dwellings), huge amounts of blokes with baseball bats, sexual assault, broken arms, broken legs, smashed skulls, theft and property damage had never happened over the last 45 years of some hunters attacking anti hunt campaigners!
We wonder if the 2 Simons will ever have the misfortune to face 14 years in prison for being loosely connected with, or sharing the same beliefs as those who have broken the law. We hope not because this is gross injustice but maybe they should reflect a little on the fact that campaigners are facing long sentences for offences they did not commit, know about or even neccessarily approve of.
If an activist for example breaks a window, the police can of course try and catch that person and in court will prove guilt, or not, with forensics, CCTV etc. They could however not bother trying to catch that person, not bother proving that a certain person broke the window and just arrest a known activist and charge them with Conspiracy to Cause Criminal Damage with persons unknown. They then don't have to do anything except prove some sort of common ground and the sentence will be much longer. We really need to stop this juggenaut of extreme oppression.